SAP’s customer experience suite, SAP C/4HANA, offers a slew of solutions for marketing, sales, retail, and customer management. The smart adoption methodology helps companies identify which of the functions and processes in these solutions will add real value and enables them to complete implementation within six months.

Smart adoption methodology is a procedure designed to help businesses deploy software with maximum possible benefit. The methodology is one element in the suite of customer experience (CX) solutions that SAP brought to market in June 2018, alongside software from acquired companies such as Gigya, Callidus Cloud, Coresystems, and Qualtrics, which now all belong within the suite known as SAP C/4HANA.

Thirty Business Roles and Almost 1,500 User Stories

Generally speaking, all companies deal with a similar range of tasks and challenges. SAP smart adoption methodology expert Diana-Claudia Miller and SAP Customer Experience innovation officer Stephan Fester, therefore, focus on 30 different business roles, each of which require a set of individually defined processes. These processes include account management, B2B order management, B2B shopping experience, and customer service.

What makes this methodology special is that the processes contain around 1,500 predefined “user stories” from which customers can pick those relevant to their specific needs. The effort required for each user story is measured in story points, which can then be converted into person-days. This means that customers can calculate project costs down to the last cent.

“One click is all you need to see what effort will be involved in implementing the software,” explains Fester, referring to the process by which customers can scope their projects and descope user stories to reflect their needs. If a company elects to include the B2B shopping experience in their portfolio, for example, the story points shown in the dashboard increase by the corresponding number. “Scoping is the most important phase,” explains Miller. “It answers the question of what it is the customer really wants.”

Three Steps to Implementation

The smart adoption methodology consists of three phases that are designed to lead to completion in six months at the latest:


This day-long phase involves presenting tools like Jira and Confluence, explaining agile development methods such as scrum, creating project templates, and answering general questions. It is vital that the customer nominates experts from the relevant business departments to take part in this phase.

“They’re the ones who’ll be working with the solution,” says Fester. When it comes to implementation, SAP sets up fixed project teams. These teams of ten are responsible for working through the backlog – the list of project tasks to be completed – and consist of at least one project lead, one scrum master, the product owner, and several developers.


The discovery phase is about clarifying which processes and user stories are relevant, assessing whether they match the customer’s requirements. This project scoping phase lays the foundation required for the project to begin. For each business process, experts from the relevant user departments attend workshops to agree on the user stories required.

By the end of this phase, which lasts three to six weeks, the customer should have defined its target architecture; entered its user stories – some of which may have been newly created – in the project backlog; mapped out the project, including the required meeting structure; and drawn up a sprint plan that schedules software deliveries every two weeks.

Engineer and Deploy

The agile development method works by breaking development work into sections such that a project moves on to the next stage every two weeks. When a stage, or sprint, is complete, experts from the customer’s user departments check whether the software SAP has delivered works correctly. The next stage does not begin until the sprint has been signed off.

“User acceptance is crucial,” explains Miller. “That’s why user stories are not implemented until the customer has formulated its acceptance criteria.” If functions don’t do what they’re designed to or if additional functions are required, the scope is adjusted and the project continues. Once the customer has completed and signed off all the required acceptance tests for each of the sprints, the cool-down phase begins. “The implementation is then complete, and the developers can devote their time merely to concentrating on the bugs,” explains Fester. This phase takes approximately three months.

Three Benefits of Smart Adoption Methodology

For Fester, the smart adoption methodology offers three distinct benefits:

  • The focus is on creating a practical solution that meets the needs of the business exactly. SAP’s cloud focus, he says, means that IT is just a guest at the workshops, because, ideally, IT only comes into play if integration scenarios are involved.
  • Companies benefit from the wealth of experience SAP has gained from successful projects and channeled into the various business roles, business processes, and user stories. These form a kind of “living template” that gets bigger and better with every completed project.
  • The methodology is transparent. The customer has access to the project tools from the start, so it can track the progress of the project and see the status of sprints at any time. Conversely, SAP can see the exact level of user acceptance.

This story originally appeared on the German SAP News Center.